In further reaction to the murder last Friday (November 20) of Democratic Russia leader Galina Starovoitova, Russian newspapers today blasted the government, and particularly President Yeltsin, for their inability to fight crime and bring order to the country. “Kommersant daily” lambasted the authorities for their ineffectiveness in fighting crime. The newspaper featured on its front page a photograph of Starovoitova, with the headline: “The cost of anarchy.” “Izvestia,” in a front-page commentary, declared: “Not one high-profile contract killing has been solved. Homeric embezzlement and the brazen tyranny of bureaucracy remains unpunished; no one said a bad word to the thief/bankers who made hundreds of thousands of depositors indigent; Nazis, multiplying like plague-ridden rats, encounter no rebuke. It means that in Russia today, there is no state. It is dead.” The newspaper “Trud” featured on its front page a list of murder cases under the headline: “Under personal control of the president.” Listed were the 1994 murder of “Moskovsky komsomolets” journalist Dmitri Kholodov, the 1995 murder of TV journalist Vladislav Listiev, the 1996 Moscow cemetery bombing in which fourteen people died, the 1996 murder of State Duma Deputy Yuri Polyakov, and the 1997 murder of State Petersburg Deputy Mayor Mikhail Manevich. “Trud” noted that despite the fact that Yeltsin had, as with the Starovoitova murder, taken personal control of the cases, none of those who ordered the murders have been caught (Trud, November 24). “Moskovsky komsomolets” today presented a similar list. Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov again called for tough measures against crime, and worried that Russia was drifting toward “fascism.” Presidential spokesman Yakushkin echoed his words, but added that “emergency measures,” which communist leaders called for over the weekend, are out of the question.
ST. PETERSBURG: A TRAINING GROUND FOR CRIMINALS? ”